A Van Gogh!

A Van Gogh!
From the artists at ArtWorks945

Monday, March 7, 2011


Some news: I may have another trade lined up.

I want to thank everyone who has approached me about trading since my last trade and apologize to those I haven’t contacted. This damn thing called a job has kept me too busy to respond to everyone. So thank you.

I won’t say much about my next potential trade, lest I jinx it. But I will say that I am very excited: the conceptual, the existential and the astrological are all lining up very nicely.

I have been thinking about the nature of art lately and have been inclining to some bizarre form of Kantianism.

Kant’s view can be understood best by considering a peculiar claim he makes about genius: genius only occurs in art.

Kant’s view strikes many as strange, since most people would readily apply the ‘genius’ label to a scientist like Einstein or a mathematician like Kurt Gödel.

But according to Kant, a true genius makes the rule according to which others are judged. Mathematicians and scientists, though they can be intellectually extraordinarily gifted, nonetheless must at the end of the day respond to some set of objective facts that, so to speak, force their hands.

Artists, on the other hand, are not so constrained. That is partly the result of the elusive nature of beauty: there is no actual specification of artistic beauty that demands our assent as beautiful apart from some standard that results from artists producing their art.

That sounds fairly abstract, I know. Here is a way to think about it. Until Van Gogh painted Starry Night, nothing in the world would have recommended that he paint his painting in quite the way he did. But once produced, Starry Night itself becomes some kind of standard that defines beauty, so much so that one is inclined to think: of course that’s the way Van Gogh painted Starry Night.

Well, at least Kant’s view starts to sound good to me if I say it enough times. But then, most views of beauty are like that.

That beauty; that damn, damn beauty!


  1. benn following for the last 3 weeks and happy to see another piece. I've been living in southern utah for 7 months painting deer carcass and taking photos of ruins and the beautiful backcountry of the ancients. Wornfoot is heading back to texas at the end of the month and i want that skull painting. How do i trade a piece of mine for it? Love the site and look forward to more. Creating is our addiction.

  2. I wish I had that skull painting to trade. But that's the sort of thing I'm trying to get. I love your thesis. I will call it the Wornfoot Thesis: creation is our addiction. Yes, creation, in some sense of that word, is our addiction. If you want to trade, e-mail me: pstudtmann@gmail.com.